Engine of Innovation (Think Tank)

Director:  Frank Arnett, MD
Co-Director:  Robert C. Bast, Jr, MD
Contact person:  Maureen Goode, PhD, ELS 713-500-7924

The CCTS Think Tank is a group of creative and productive local clinical, basic, and translational investigators.  They provide guidance for CCTS investigators and for the CCTS in general through the following programs:

  • Hypothesis-generating conferences.  Hypothesis-generating conferences are brain-storming meetings for new investigators.  In each meeting, members of the Think Tank, CCTS component staff, and other experienced advisors meet with a new investigator and his or her mentors to discuss the investigator’s research and career-development plans. The goal is to assure that the new investigator hones his or her research ideas into a workable hypothesis and plan for efficiently and rapidly generating useful translational or clinical findings.   The advice offered can include ways to refocus a too-broad research plan, ideas about finding external funding, suggestions on local and national collaborators and identifying subjects for studies, and information on the investigator’s specific field of research.  The team always encourages maximal use of CCTS resources. 
  • Biannual Think Tank meetings.  The entire Think Tank meets twice a year with CCTS investigators (such as the CCTS T32 trainees, K12 scholars, and other CCTS trainees) to share information and establish new collaborations. 
  • “De-siloization” focus groups.  At the first Think Tank meeting, the group established focus groups to address important biological and medical issues that cross the boundaries of specific diseases and specific institutions or schools in the CCTS.  The groups are:
         o Inflammation
         o Musculoskeletal diseases
         o Stem-cell research
         o Epidemiology and public health
         o Metabolic diseases
         o Neuroscience
         o Vascular issues

Each group includes researchers from the CCTS’s three component institutions who specialize in different but related research areas or diseases.  The participants’ combined efforts will synergize research in these areas by addressing the biology and mechanisms that underlie broad pathological processes rather than specific disease states.  Each focus group will identify cross-cutting issues their groups need to address and determine how the CCTS can facilitate research on those topics. 

For more information on the Think Tank or to schedule a hypothesis-generating conference, please contact Maureen Goode, PhD, ELS 713-500-7924

Think Tank Members

Name    Title Department/Institution
Frank C. Arnett, MD Executive Director, CCTS  UTHSC-H
Robert C. Bast, Jr., MD Vice President, Translational Research U.T. M. D. Anderson
Perry Bickel, MD Associate Professor & Associate Director, Endocrinology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Michael Blackburn, PhD Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology UTHSC-H Medical School
Sean Blackwell, MD Associate Professor, OB/Gyn  UTHSC-H Medical School
Eric Boerwinkle, PhD Professor & Director, Division of Epidemiology  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Michael Braun, MD Associate Professor, Pediatrics  UTHSC-H Medical School
Max Buja, MD Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs  UTHSC-H
John H. Byrne, PhD Professor and Chairman, Neurobiology & Anatomy  UTHSC-H Medical School
C. Thomas Caskey, MD Professor, Chief Operating Officer, Director, and Chief Executive Officer  UTHSC-H Institute of Molecular Medicine 
Cheryl M. Chanaud, PhD  Executive Director, Clinical Innovation and Research  Memorial Hermann Hospital System
Cynthia Chappell, PhD Professor & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Stephen Daiger, PhD Professor, Environmental & Genetic Sciences  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Benoit de Crombrugghe, MD  Professor, Molecular Genetics U.T. M. D. Anderson
William Dubinsky, PhD Professor, Integrative Biology & Pharmacology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Herbert L. Dupont, MD Professor of Infectious Diseases and Director, Center for Infectious Diseases  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Carmel Dyer, MD Professor, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics  UTHSC-H Medical School
Mauro Ferrari, MD, PhD  Professor, NanoMedicine  UTHSC-H Institute of Molecular Medicine
Lex Frieden, MA, LLD  Professor of Health Informatics UTHSC-H School of Health Information Sciences
Sandra K. Hanneman, PhD, RN, FAAN  Professor and Associate Dean for Research  UTHSC-H School of Nursing
Waun Ki Hong, MD  Professor & Division Head, Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology  U.T. M. D. Anderson
Samuel Kaplan, PhD Professor and Chairman, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics  UTHSC-H Medical School
Daniel Karp, MD Professor, Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology  U.T. M. D. Anderson
James Katancik, DDS, PhD  Associate Professor & Chairman, Periodontics   UTHSC-H Dental Branch
Rodney Kellems, PhD  Professor & Chairman, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Dong Kim, MD  Professor & Chairman, Neurosurgery  UTHSC-H Medical School
Richard Kulmacz, PhD  Professor, Internal Medicine, Hematology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Razelle Kurzrock, MD Professor, Phase I Trials Program   U.T. M. D. Anderson
Kevin Lally, MD Professor & Chair, Pediatric Surgery UTHSC-H Medical School
Cheng Chi Lee, PhD Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Yong-Jun Liu, MD, PhD Professor & Chair, Immunology  U.T. M. D. Anderson
David Loose, PhD Associate Professor and Director, Integrative Biology & Pharmacology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Yahuan Lou, PhD Professor, Diagnostic Sciences  UTHSC-H Dental Branch
Joseph B. McCormick, MD Professor & Regional Dean  UTHSC-H SPH Brownsville Regional Campus
David McPherson, MD Professor and Director, Division of Cardiology  UTHSC-H Medical School
John Mendelsohn, MD President   U.T. M. D. Anderson
David Mercer, MD Professor and Jack H. Mayfield, MD, Chair in Surgery  UTHSC-H Medical School
Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD Professor & Director, Division of Medical Genetics  UTHSC-H Medical School
Isaac D. Montoya, PhD Clinical Professor, College of Pharmacy  University of Houston
Kevin Morano, PhD Assistant Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics UTHSC-H Medical School
Barbara Murray, MD Professor & Director, Infectious Diseases  UTHSC-H Medical School
Nancy Murray, DrPH Assistant Professor, Health Promotion and Behavioral Science UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Ponnada Narayana, PhD Professor and Director, Radiology UTHSC-H Medical School
Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD Professor & Division Head, Surgical Oncology  U.T. M. D. Anderson
John Reveille, MD Professor, Internal Medicine, Rheumatology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH Professor and Director of the Institute for Health Policy  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Mark Sherer, PhD, ABPP-Cn Director, Research & Neuropsychology  Baylor College of Medicine
Paul J. Simmons, PhD Professor, Molecular Medicine   UTHSC-H Institute of Molecular Medicine
Jack Smith, MD, PhD  Dean &  Professor UTHSC-H School of Health Information Sciences
Margaret Spitz, MD, MPH 

Professor & Chair, Epidemiology

U.T. M. D. Anderson
Charles Streckfus, DDS Professor, Diagnostic Sciences  UTHSC-H Dental Branch
Filemon Tan, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Rheumatology  UTHSC-H Medical School
Sally Vernon, PhD Blair Justice, PhD, Professorship in Mind-Body Medicine and Public Health, and Director, Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences  UTHSC-H School of Public Health
Rick Wetsel, PhD Professor of Molecular Medicine  UTHSC-H Institute of Molecular Medicine
James T. Willerson, MD President  UTHSC-H
Edward T. H. Yeh, MD Professor & Chair, Cardiology  U.T. M. D. Anderson